Don't have the Brazilian gene? Don't worry these soccer tips and tricks will make you feel like you were born to be the next Neymar no matter where you play soccer. We all have parts of our game we need to improve on knowing what those areas are and more importantly knowing how to improve them is so important for you to grow as a player and fulfill all of your dreams.
So? What are some important things you need to know besides making sure your cleats match? Well there are so many, mastering the physical side of the game, the mental side, the technical fundamental skills, creating a schedule and of course the way you treat your body between performance. It's not rocket science but there is so much we can do that we choose not to that make all the difference in your game on the weekend so take note and take your game to heights only you know they can get to. All the soccer tips and tricks to make all your dreams come true, well what are you looking at me for? It's time to get to work.
1. Master the Fundamentals - Before you start doing all the fancy stuff that you almost never use in a real game make it your goal to master all the fundamentals of the game first. Fundamentals such as passing and receiving (with both feet), shooting, controlling a ball, turning, laying the ball off, clearances, 1v1 dribbling and 1v1 defending to name a few. The fundamentals are a majority of what you will encounter in a match and if you can really polish all these to a 8 out of 10 you will have college and pro coaches knocking down your door in no time. One of the most important soccer tips and tricks you will ever need to know involves doing the basics right.
2. Be the Hardest Worker - Showing up to training and games then going home like all of your teammates isn't enough to separate yourself from the pack. Whenever you have practice make it a habit every day to either show up an hour before to work on your game or stay an hour after, these hours will start to add up and you'll see how your game will slowly start to surpass all of your teammates.
3. Dominate the Physical Side of the Game - Whether or not you have the best vision, or best technical ability the one thing you can full control is how you perform physically on the pitch. Find out some of the pro standards for fitness, strength, agility and speed and obsess over getting your body to that level. Being physically fit is half the battle when it comes to this sport and no matter how good you are if you're not fit playing soccer is like torture and you'll never be at your absolute best without it.
4. Dedicate Yourself to Being the Best At One Thing On Your Team - Yes of course we want to develop your whole game but you need to find one thing that you are far and away the absolute best on your team at. Saying vision or IQ isn't good enough, it has to be something easy to define and spot like taking free kicks, winning aerial balls, fittest and best fitness scores or most vocal. Whatever it might be you will get good basic reps in your team training to improve all parts of your game but you need to focus on one away from the pitch to truly be a specialist in.
5. Watch and Analyze the Pro's - On the weekend instead of just watching EPL or Champions League games as just a fan really analyze the players in your position and what they do so well. Whether it's their clearances in defence, off the ball runs in attack or leadership and communication try and find the little nuggets of gold they all have that make them pro's. You can read about all the soccer tips and tricks you want but nothing will replace seeing for yourself from the best in the world.
There's a reason why the best players in the world can play for so long and are rarely injured, it's because they take every moment away from games and training to take care of their bodies. As soon as that final whistle goes it's a race against the clock to recover your body for the next session or game so what you do in those hours is vital to you being at your best. There is so much information out there about ice baths, rolling out, stretching etc. you need to find out what things work best for your body and once you do add them to these five important soccer tips and tricks about recovery so you can be at 100% each and every time you lace up the boots.
1. Sleep Is Your Superpower - Sleep has shown to be the most important thing we do for a life full of health both on and off the pitch. The healing powers of a good nights sleep are unmatched by any ice machine or technology out there so take this one more seriously than anything else. To be specific sleep a minimum of eight hours a night, get to bed before midnight, try going to bed and waking up at the same time every night, keep your phone away from you, get the room as darks as possible and try to keep it at 17 degrees. This may be one of the most basic soccer tips and tricks out there but can't be understated for how useful it really is, make sure you get this right as it is the foundation for all the physical work you will do that day.
2. Yoga Power - Just ask Ryan Giggs (let me flip through my phone and call him now that you mention it) he will tell you that Yoga added 5 years onto his pro career and it can do the same for you. The benefits of yoga are so underrated for your flexibility, alignment, injury prevention, breathing, stress relief and mental health to name a few. Before you start laughing at Yoga for being easy give it a try for yourself and find out how challenging it really is, build just 15minutes of Yoga into your recovery routine and you'll be thanking me for a lifetime. I bet you weren't expecting to see yoga as one of the top soccer tips and tricks were ya? Well don't knock it until you try it.
3. You Are What You Eat - Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said that great abs are not made in the gym but are made in the kitchen. This goes for your entire body not just abs, the fuel you put inside your own car will determine how well it runs on a daily basis. Proper nutrition will help you feel better, train better and recover faster than any of your teammates and opponents. Stop eating junk food, pop, chocolate daily and only have them on special occasions and watch how your body transforms over night.
4. Roll Out - Using a roller or even a wine bottle to gently roll out your tendons and muscles before and after training has shown to have some great affects on recovery of the body. Try it for yourself and see if it is something that works for you, don't overdue it but gently roll over some key sore areas and help accelerate the recovery process in your muscles and tendons.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Tackles - This one is how smart players stay healthy for an entire career. Unless it is a goal saving tackle where you need to put your body in a dangerous position really pick and choose the dangerous tackles and situations to put yourself into. I'm not saying tip toe around the field for 90 minutes but don't put your knee or extended leg in a position where someone can fall on it or trap it under some bodies that can cause serious injury. Ask yourself is it worth winning the ball for what might happen to my leg, arm or head on this one play? Play tough and aggressive but also smart and cautious.
For a full check list on the best soccer tips and tricks to help you recover after a match feel free to read this article to make sure you're doing everything you can, How To Get An Edge: Better Recovery Between Soccer Games in 2020.
Hoping and wishing to make a team, get a scholarship or play professionally isn't enough, you need to know where you're going and how to get there to achieve these goals. Write out your weekly training schedule with your team, then add on each day what you're going to do to improve your game physically, technically and mentally. Take one day off for recovery purposes but look to stick to a strict schedule of training if you want to get to the next level, no fancy soccer tips and tricks here, just old fashioned work, here is an example.
Monday - 10am: Strength Workout (upper body), 4pm: Work on crossing ball with my right foot for 45min, 7pm: Create 5 self affirmations I can say to myself during training or a match.
Tuesday - 10am: Strength Workout (lower body), 4pm: Run the beep fitness test, 7pm: Watch my last game and take notes on ways I can improve
Wednesday - 10am: Yoga Workout, 6pm: Team Practice
Thursday - 10am: Work on shooting with my left foot for 45min, 6pm Team Practice
Friday - 10am: Yoga Workout, 6pm Team Practice
Saturday - 10am: Light Yoga Workout, 2pm: Watch Pro Soccer Game and analyze my position, 7pm: Game
Sunday - Day off
Separating yourself from the best players your age are such thin margins and to get a leg up you need to start doing things nobody else is and one of those things that the pro's do that most players never get into is improving their mental game. We are all faced with moments of doubt, nerves, anger and fear, it's how we snap out of those moments that could be the difference between winning and losing. Below are some simple soccer tips and tricks you can use right away to help your mental side of the game.
1. Self Affirmations/Self Talk - Everyone should have three go to sayings they say to themselves when things don't go their way. Whether it's a turnover, bad shot or dropped ball quickly go these affirmations to get yourself back on track. Even if it's not after a bad moment, just when the nerves start to take over go to these lines that make you feel confident and relaxed. "Let's go John, you can do this" or "let's go your team needs you" are a couple examples you can use, make it your own and what is true and genuine for you.
2. Visualization - They say the brain can't tell the difference between an actual experience and one recreated in the mind. We should all be using this to our advantage to replay and rehearse moments of every game we've played in and will play in. Take just five minutes a day before bed or when you wake up and imagine yourself playing great in your position doing all the things you know you can do. Fill your mind with positive images over and over again to train your brain into knowing you can accomplish such things on the pitch.
3. Self Journal - Recording your thoughts and positive moments from the game can be a great way to reflect on all the things you do well. After a few weeks a months you'll have a great resource to go back to and read if you ever need a pick me up. It can also be used to read when things are going well just to put a smile on your face and keep your confidence up. One day 30 years from now you just might find it and it will absolute gold to read and reflect on. Stuff all the things you learned and soon you'll have enough info of soccer tips and tricks you can always lean back on.
4. Thought Stoppers - Whether it's one word or a physical action like clapping your hands many players use these cues to get them back on track and stop the negative thoughts in their head after a bad play or when negative thoughts come in their head. Whether it's a quick word in your head or writing something on the tape on your wrist thought stoppers can be a great mental skill to have in your arsenal.
5. Pre-Performance Routine - If you've ever seen Rafael Nadal play tennis you know exactly what I'm talking about here. Start to build in a routine before every practice and game to get you at your best. Whether it's what you eat or drink, taking a nap, playing video games going for a walk studies have shown that building in routines can help decrease stress and put your in a place of familiarity for consistent performances. Not all soccer tips and tricks are rocket science but do take large amounts of discipline like this one does.